Interview with Author Edie Claire

Edie Claire for RWF post 4Author Edie Claire

In April of 2017, Avery Cove wrote a blog post on writing romantic women’s fiction.

She needed to know if there was a difference between writing women’s fiction and writing romantic women’s fiction.

One of the references she sited was http://www.edieclaire.com/rwf. Edie Claire had not only a definition but also a video clip.  

Today RWF is excited to present an exclusive interview with Edie.  

RWF: How long have you been writing? What genre(s) do you write?

EC: I sold my first mystery novel to Penguin-Putnam’s Signet imprint in 1998. I published five mysteries with Signet, then sold two contemporary romances to Warner Books’ Forever imprint and two plays to Samuel French. I republished all the novels independently beginning in 2010, and now there are twenty-four – including mysteries, romance, women’s fiction, and humor. (You could say I get bored easily!)

RWF: Why did you decide that what you wanted to write was Romantic Women’s Fiction?

EC: I was frustrated by the expectation that anything called a “romance” should meet certain criteria and fall into a particular subgenre bucket. I wanted to write about people falling in love, but didn’t want my plots to be constrained or the scope of the book to be limited to those two people.  Women’s fiction appeals because it explores family and friend relationships and the plot can go anywhere… but as a reader of that genre I found myself frequently depressed by heavy subject matter and emotionally unsatisfying endings. I knew what I wanted to write – a book that includes a romance, but also has a bigger story involving multiple characters… and a happy ending. Hello, Romantic Women’s Fiction!

RWF: You are self-published and traditionally published. Is self-publishing really profitable vs the money you’d receive from a publishing house? How do you feel about the markets today?

EC: Personally, I have had significantly better success self-publishing than I ever did traditionally publishing. I was very fortunate in timing, in that I was able to make a name for myself in traditional publishing first. That helped me get a leg-up in the self-publishing world just as the e-book boom was beginning. Today it is much, much harder to get established, no matter which way you start out. But the advantage of this market is that it puts readers, not employees of publishing houses, in the judge’s seat. We can make our product available to the audience for which we’ve written (no matter how small a niche!) without having to pass through the filter of corporate approval. That allows the work to succeed – or not – based on its own merits.

RWF: Would you say your inspiration comes from a setting or characters talking in your head? What I mean is what comes to mind, first—character(s) or a place?

EC: I’m most often inspired with an idea for a book by being someplace new. That’s why I love to travel. Every new place I experience makes me ponder fictional events that could happen there. I envision the characters who could bring the place to life, and slowly they begin to flesh out as real people. THEN they start talking in my head!

(Edie – Mountain birding at Haleakala Volcano in Maui)

Edie Claire Mountain Birding 3 for RWF post

RWF: What do you find as the most difficult part of creating a novel?

EC: The earliest stages of writing, when the characters are not quite fully formed. When the book is finished and I go back to edit, I always have to redo much of the dialogue in the opening chapters. “Oh, please,” I’ll think to myself. “Mei Lin would never say THAT!”

RWF: Do your books have a reoccurring theme?

EC: The series do, yes. The mysteries have been running since 1999, when a single Leigh turned thirty, and now she’s in her late forties and is married with two teenage kids. During that time, every extended family member has followed an arc of growth and change. That’s tremendously fun to write. So are my Pacific Horizons books, where a variety of characters find inspiration in the beauty of the natural world.

RWF: Do you save bits of your story that you’ve cut from your book or just delete them?

EC: With every book, I have a separate file called “cut outs,” because I figure I might use that particular section later, and I hate thinking that I’ve wasted my time writing it. But in reality, almost everything that gets cut eventually gets scrapped.

RWF: What is the most challenging aspect of writing?

EC: Emotionally separating failures on the business end from reader appreciation of my writing. Sometimes they are related – most of the time they’re not. That’s why hearing from readers is so important to me. If I’m down because I was rejected for an ad or because sales on a particular site have tanked for no apparent reason, having someone in Arizona or Australia tell me how much they loved Alaskan Dawn will turn my mood around in a heartbeat!

RWF: Do you read the genres that you write?

EC: I used to. But nothing kills enjoyment of a novel more than realizing you are subconsciously trying to analyze it!  Luckily for me, the one genre I never write is historical, and I love them dearly, so that’s where I indulge myself. My favorite books for leisure reading are family sagas that stretch across multiple generations and continents… the longer, the better!

RWF: Would you mind sharing some of your writing process?

EC: I change my process with every book. Seriously. I’ve written by starting out with a chapter and having no idea where I was going, and I have come up with a fully-formed book idea that was totally outlined in my head and only needed to be written down. I have used no notes, and I have filled notebooks with chicken scratches. Most books fall somewhere in between. The one thing I’ve never been able to do is decide how to write a book and then actually do it that way!

RWF: What are you currently working on?

EC: Glacier Blooming, the fourth book in the Pacific Horizons series. It’s been going very slowly, I’m afraid, due to worsening of my migraines, but I hope to release it by the fall of 2018. It takes place around Glacier Bay in Southeast Alaska, one of the most beautiful places on earth – and home to one of the rarest mammals, the “blue” Glacier Bear. It’s an unusual romance (aren’t all romantic women’s fiction novels?) wrapped up in the discovery of a decades-old family secret that leaves our protagonist with an impossible choice… to be continued!

~ Wow! Edie’s Polynesian Room desk ~

Edie Claire PolynesianRoomDesk for RWF post

RWF: What is the best way to reach you and learn more about your books?

EC: My website! www.edieclaire.com

Edie, thanks so much for spending time with our group and sharing some aspects of your writing life. 

Novelist and playwright Edie Claire is a former veterinarian and childbirth educator whose three children have recently flown the nest, further indulging her compulsion to write cozy mysteries, humor, and romantic and women’s fiction. Pick up an Edie Claire work and you can be assured of intrigue, humor, a touch of romance (or a hefty dose of it, depending on the book!) and an ending that will leave you with a smile. 

RWF: Where can we find your books?

EC: Currently Alaskan Dawn and Never Buried are free on Kindle.

Edie Claire bk 1 for RWF blog  Alaskan Dawn, first in Pacific Horizons series. Link to video trailer – first version was featured on USAT blog.

Edie Claire bk 2 for RWF post Never Buried, is the first in the Leigh Koslow Mystery series.

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A Perspective on Writing Romantic Women’s Fiction

RWF is pleased to have one of our own as our guest blogger. Violet Howe, author of Tales Behind the Veils series and the Cedar Creek Series, shares some of her thoughts on writing. 

Violet Howe picture for blog  

Sometimes I envy authors of paranormal romance or historical romance. When they’re asked what they write, they can answer and expect a nod of recognition in return. When I respond that I write Romantic Women’s Fiction, I usually get a puzzled look instead.

For me, it’s simple to understand but harder to explain.

I usually give a loose definition that it’s the story of a woman’s journey with love along the way. If they want more, I explain that it’s a tale of her personal growth as she encounters external and internal obstacles and seeks to triumph over them. Somewhere between beginning and end, she finds love, and because it is a romance novel, somehow they end up with a happily ever after.

But a key difference in romantic women’s fiction and a traditional romance is that the happily ever after between the hero and heroine is not the answer to all her problems. It’s not the pinnacle of her growth. Whatever happens in her love life is just a part of her story and her evolution, not the only catalyst or primary end goal.

Another difference is the romance is not the only relationship of importance in the plot. Her interaction with friends, family, and/or co-workers plays a large and sometimes more important role in shaping who she is from start to finish.Violet Howe owner. Depositphotos_31800765_l-2015 For VH's RWF blog

To me, romantic women’s fiction seems more representative of real life than its more sugar-coated counterpart.

Relationships do not exist in a vacuum with just the hero and heroine and their love for each other. We are influenced by those around us, and the issues we face in the workplace, in our families, or among our closest friends affect how we deal with life and love.

Romantic love is not the only love we need, and it’s not the only love that can cause us great joy and crippling pain. Those other relationships must be factored in to create a well-rounded story of personal growth.

Reality casts a woman in many roles. Daughter, Friend, Sister, Cousin, Mother, Lover, Wife. To be true to my main character and her story, I can’t focus on one role and ignore the others. I have to flesh out the many facets of her life and explore who she is and how she got there, then invite my readers along for the ride as she discovers where’s she’s going and who she will be at the end.

I believe this ultimately helps us relate to each other. After all, womanhood is in many ways a sisterhood. Even when our circumstances are vastly different, we can find common ground in our relationship experiences. Through shared stories, we can commiserate. We can understand each other. We can support each other.

Violet Howe owner Depositphotos_31707891_l-2015

Experiencing life through another woman’s eyes may even help us process our own failures, shortcomings, and victories.

Maybe the simplest definition of romantic women’s fiction is stories of women living their lives. And that’s what I write.


Interested in Violet’s newest book, Building Fences? We’ve got the cover and the blurb!Violet Howe's book 0218_BuildingFences_JF_Ebook

Caroline Miller has often fantasized about finding the mother who’d given her up for adoption. When an unexpected phone call gives her the opportunity to meet her birth mother face-to-face, she jumps at the chance.

But as the weekend turns into a series of mishaps and disappointments, Caroline wonders if she’ll ever be able to find peace with her beginnings.

Could a case of mistaken identity lead her to find the life she’s dreamed of and the family—and love—she thought she could never have?

This MeetCute novel by Violet Howe is the first volume in the Cedar Creek Family Collection.


Thank you, Violet, for giving us a glimpse of your view on writing romantic women’s fiction.

Violet Howe enjoys writing romantic women’s fiction and romantic mystery/suspense. She lives in Florida with her knight in tarnished armor and their two handsome sons. They share their home with three adorable but spoiled dogs. When she’s not writing, Violet is usually watching movies, reading, or planning her next travel adventure. You can follow Violet’s ramblings on her blog, The Goddess Howe. 

Author Website:  www.violethowe.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/VioletHoweAuthor

Facebook Reader Group: Ultra Violets https://www.facebook.com/groups/VioletsUltra/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/violethowe

Twitter: www.twitter.com/Violet_Howe

Violet’s Latest Release:
https://www.books2read.com/b/BuildingFences

 

Writing Romantic Women’s Fiction with Joan Leacott

“So, what do you write?” asks an author at the Desert Dreams conference in early June.

Uh…. Don’t you hate the way that question puts you on the spot? “I write romantic women’s fiction,” I reply.

“Uh… what’s that… exactly?”

As the current President of the Romantic Women’s Fiction Chapter of RWA, I should know. Right? Well, I can’t answer for the entire chapter, but this is the way I write romantic women’s fiction. Your mileage may vary. 😉

The Romance Continuum

At one end, you’ve got the straight-up romance focused on a couple and the ups and downs of their love. On the other end, you’ve got pure women’s fiction about a woman’s journey through life from chaos to serenity.

Romantic Women’s Fiction (RWF) has both a romance and a life struggle with the romance taking the lead.

Complex Lives

As in real life, a woman in RWF doesn’t live in a vacuum. She is surrounded by her family, her friends, her community. Relatives demand her time and affection. Friends share secrets and worries. Volunteering adds more pressure. And let’s not forget her work. Who has time for romance? Everybody!

My heroine Cathy in Above Scandal returns home to care for her sick mother. Across the street from her mother lives her old flame, the unknowing father of her daughter. The secret baby trope tangles with the child-as-parent syndrome.

Multiple Points of View

I love writing from the perspective of more that one character, the usual case of pure women’s fiction, or two characters as in pure romance. My secondary characters range in age from ten (Hayley in Above Scandal) to seventy-four (Horace in Sight for Sore Eyes) and share point-of-view with my main characters.

Complex Plots

Events are never as simple as they appear. Are they?

Sub-plots involving secondary characters braid with the romance plot to raise challenges for the main characters. Hayley’s out to find her father all by herself and Horace is trapped by his matchmaking scheme for his grandson.

Small-town Flare

All my stories take place in my fictitious town of Clarence Bay. Because it’s based on a real nearby town, authenticity is a twist on a Google search away. In Sight for Sore Eyes, Emma owns Finn’s Fine China and Gift Shoppe. The model for her shop is Huckleberry’s.

A small town isn’t a necessary element of RWF. That’s just me. 😉

What about You?

Complex, intriguing, authentic. Do your stories sound like my stories? Then I’d say you write Romantic Women’s Fiction. Welcome home!

Curious about Romantic Women’s Fiction? Join our RWF chapter party at Nationals. Chapter membership not required. All are welcome.

About Joan

Joan is a renaissance woman.

She is skilled in many arts—sewing, knitting crochet, cross-stitch, painting, and piano. The skill favored by her husband and son is cooking, especially pumpkin pie. She spends her winters in Toronto attending plays, ballets, aquafit and yoga classes. Whew! Her summers are spent on the shores of Georgian Bay relaxing on the deck with a romance novel and a glass of wine.  After she’s done her laps in the bay and installed the Seadoo battery. Whew! When does she have time to write her multi-generational contemporary romance novels? In every moment left over!

Stormy Wedding, her series of five short stories all taking place on the same four days in an ice storm is scheduled for release on October 11, 2017. Her online course Mastering Word for Fiction Writers is scheduled for release on July 20, 2017.

Visit her website at www.JoanLeacott.CA to read excerpts from Above Scandal and Sight for Sore Eyes. Find her on Facebook or Twitter. Sign up for her newsletter and get a free short story, the charming Second Chance Dress.

 

What is Romantic Women’s Fiction?

Busy Student Writing Something

Why did you join RWF, a chapter of RWA?

When I first joined Romantic Women’s Fiction (RWF), I was searching for a group that could help me in my writing journey. I wanted a group that wrote romance and women’s fiction as their genre of choice. I’d had an editor and an agent give me two conflicting statements—one said my story was a romance, the other said it was women’s fiction.

According to RWA, Romance has two basic elements in every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

According to various writers and Wikipedia, Women’s Fiction is about how a woman deals with the challenges in her life.

lover holding hand walking on the beach

From my view point, Romantic Women’s Fiction (RWF) is “a marriage of romance and women’s fiction.” It’s a story of the heroine’s journey through life challenges, and along the way the hero enters, beginning the romantic dance. In the end, many of her issues are resolved and the romance ends with a happy conclusion. Life’s journey is easier when traveled as a couple.

In my research, I found some very good explanations for the meaning of “romantic women’s fiction.”

Edie Claire says, “Romantic Women’s Fiction is a hybrid of contemporary romance and   women’s fiction. It’s a popular type of book; readers often just don’t know what to call it!”

See Edie Claire, Julianne Maclean, and Mary Campsi’s YouTube presentation of its meaning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DbzVlVrMaE

From the savvyauthors.com, Cynthia Rachette, says “A new sub-genre is emerging that combines the ever popular romance and the tried and true   women’s fiction. Yes, it’s romantic women’s fiction.”

RWFlogo

RWF is here for you to learn more about writing. And our main focus is writing romantic women’s fiction.

Have you considered what sub-genre of romance that you write?

What are some thoughts you have on writing romantic women’s fiction?

For more in-depth information, please check out the links from my research below, in no particular order:

https://www.rwa.org/Romance

https://www.rwa.org/p/fo/st/topic=656&post=158050#p158050

https://www.rwa.org/p/fo/st/topic=553&post=55498#p55498

http://www.edieclaire.com/rwf

http://romanceuniversity.org/2009/11/06/is-it-romance-or-romantic-womens-fiction/

https://savvyauthors.com/blog/romantic-womens-fiction-a-new-face-to-old-style-womens-fiction-by-cynthia-racette/

http://www.findmeanauthor.com/womens_fiction_genre.htm

http://writersrelief.com/blog/2016/03/what-is-womens-fiction/

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/agent-scott-eagan-on-romance-vs-womens-fiction

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women’s_fiction

Avery

Avery Cove is the current Vice-President of Communications for RWF. See her Facebook page for more of her thoughts.